Patricia Caron’s calendars were packed with reminders of her friends’ doctors appointments, birthdays and important dates to remember.
On April 20, she wrote “Matt, physical be there.” On June 2, 2020: “Sissy, neurology.” On Nov. 7, 2019, she wrote, Mary, 2 p.m.”
“I knew she helped some of her friends,” said her daughter, Karen Letourneau of Wales. “When I saw her calendars, it blew me away. Her calendars are all marked up … full of stuff for other people. It’s just what she did.”
Caron died May 13 from complications of COVID-19. She was 74. She tested positive for the virus on April 25, more than a month after receiving the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Caron is one of eight Mainers to die from COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As of June 7, the state has recorded 387 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated Mainers. That means about 99.95 percent of all people in Maine who have received their final vaccine dose have not gotten COVID-19, according to the state statistics. More than 734,000 state residents are fully vaccinated against COVID.
Caron, of Lewiston, was remembered this week as a kind and thoughtful person. Her obituary, which was published in the Sun Journal, says she lived life from her heart.
“She was extremely compassionate,” her daughter said. “She felt for everyone and anyone in need. She was selfless in helping other people.”
Letourneau shared openly about her mother’s health issues and longtime struggle with depression. At age 55, her mother left her husband and started a new life for herself, renting a small apartment in Auburn that had 1970s linoleum floors.
“She was amazing,” her daughter said, recalling the first time she visited the new apartment. “I’ll never forget. She had gone shopping to Goodwill and Walmart and bought a secondhand table and two chairs. She had a little coffee maker and a couple cups. She was so stinking happy to have me over for coffee in her own place. She was sweeping that old kitchen floor with a broom. I had never seen her so happy. She had hardly a thing to her name.”
Caron raised four children and had nine grandchildren. She raised a grandson with intellectual disabilities and was his caregiver until she died. She worked in convenience stores in the Lewiston-Auburn area for several years to provide for her kids.
“She was the kind of mother who did everything she could to protect her kids,” Letourneau said. “She always made sure we had everything we needed.”
Caron enjoyed gardening, sewing and cooking for her family, and loved taking trips to the ocean and the mountains. She was a strong, resilient and gutsy woman, but her door was always open and she didn’t judge, Letourneau said.
“She said what was on her mind,” her daughter said. “She was one of those people … what you see is what you get. She was real and genuine. There were no pretenses ever with her.”
Caron received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on March 31. Letourneau received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine soon after. They spent the day together on April 21, and talked and laughed as her mother helped feed the goats.
Four days later, they both tested positive for COVID-19. Letourneau got better, but Caron’s health declined. She was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator May 10, and died three days later.
Caron was surrounded by her family when she took her last breath. The song playing when she passed was “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” by Elvis Presley.
“It was the most painful moment of my life. At the same time, it was the most loving moment of my life,” her daughter said, breaking down in tears.